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Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits is a classic Southern dish that is the perfect combination of flavorful and perfectly seasoned shrimp atop creamy, buttery grits!

FRESH AND FLAVORFUL SHRIMP AND GRITS

Chances are you’ve heard of or have eaten Shrimp and Grits, but have you ever tried to make it yourself at home? If not, then you’re really missing out! Tender and succulent shrimp on top of a bed of creamy, cheesy grits make for the perfect breakfast (or lunch or supper too!) There is just nothing like making this from scratch in your own kitchen. You’ll also love that this dish comes together in under an hour!

Looking down on a serving bowl of shrimp and grits with garnishes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Where did shrimp and grits originate?

Shrimp and grits is a meal that originated in Charleston, South Carolina (at least that is where the first recipe appeared in the 1950’s.) In fact, this meal became so popular with South Carolinians that in 1976, South Carolina made shrimp and grits their official state food. Today, shrimp and grits are a staple part of Southern cuisine, often served as a breakfast meal or main course dinner.

What is a good side for shrimp and grits?

Shrimp and Grits is meant to be a whole meal in itself. However, if you really want some sides, you might like collard greens, biscuits and/or cornbread.

What do grits taste like?

Grits are a Southern staple made from ground yellow or white corn. They have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, and although they are super creamy, they have a small touch of graininess like you’d find in polenta.

Do I have to make cheesy grits?

While I don’t think the cheese overpowers the grits at all and adds a lovely flavor along with the shrimp, you can certainly make this without the cheese.

Why do you add lemon juice to the shrimp?

It’s one of those ingredients that isn’t absolutely necessary but it really takes it to the next level. It “brightens” up the flavor. Combined with the garlic in the sauce, it makes the shrimp really shine! Please note: if you are using the lemon juice, make sure it is fresh lemon juice, not the bottled stuff.

How to store leftovers?

Keep leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

How to reheat shrimp and grits?

As the grits cool, the texture will gradually become thicker. To reheat, simply add a splash of chicken broth to loosen them back up and microwave until warm.

A beautiful bowl of cheesy shrimp and grits.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • chicken broth – you can trade this out for vegetable broth or even chicken stock. This adds amazing flavor to the grits.
  • heavy cream – I know it’s tempting to use milk but if you want ultra creamy grits, I really suggest heavy cream.
  • stone ground grits – do not buy instant grits or you’ll end up with a soupy mess. See my ingredient image below to see what I use.
  • shredded cheddar cheese – I like a good sharp cheddar cheese but use your favorite.
  • butter – I prefer to use salted butter but if you need to watch your sodium, you can make adjustments to any of the salt in this recipe.
  • bacon – you’ll need to cook the bacon up fresh because we’re going to need some of that bacon grease for cooking the shrimp.
  • shrimp – peeled and deveined with the tails off. You can certainly leave the tails on but I don’t like when shrimp has the tails on when served on grits because then you have to get your hands in there and it just becomes a mess. Make it easier on yourself and your guests to enjoy this without any trouble.
  • garlic cloves – if you’re going through the work of making shrimp and grits from scratch, try and use fresh garlic instead of jarred garlic. The fresh garlic really makes a big difference.
  • seasoned salt – you could even use Old Bay seasoning if preferred.
  • lemon juice – use fresh squeezed lemon juice here, the bottled lemon juice is just awful so skip it or just don’t add the lemon juice at all.
Shrimp, stone ground grits, green onions, chicken broth, heavy cream, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, butter, bacon, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, and seasoned salt.

HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP AND GRITS

Add the chicken broth, cream, grits, salt, and pepper to a dutch oven or large pot, and stir to combine. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or to the time frame on the back of your grits packaging, frequently whisking until most of the liquid is absorbed. Take off the heat and add the cheese and butter; stir until melted. Keep warm while you prepare the shrimp.

collage of two photos: a dutch oven with chicken broth, cream, grits, salt, and pepper with a whisk; cheese and butter added to grits in a dutch oven.

While the grits are simmering, add the chopped bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Take the bacon out of the skillet and reserve 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the green onions, butter, seasoned salt, pepper and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

a collage of two photos: bacon pieces being cooked in a skillet; bacon grease with sliced green onions, butter, garlic, seasoned salt, and pepper in a skillet.

Add the shrimp and stir to combine, cook until they turn pink, about 3-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir everything to combine.

a collage of two photos: raw shrimp added to garlic butter sauce in skillet; lemon juice being poured into a pan of cooked shrimp.

Add grits to a serving bowl, and top with the shrimp. Add the crispy bacon on top and more green onions, if desired.

A spoon dipping in a bowl of shrimp and grits.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

A plate of shrimp and grits.

Shrimp and Grits

Enjoy a Southern classic comfort food with this savory Shrimp and Grits recipe.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 41 minutes
Total Time: 56 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the grits:

For the shrimp:

Instructions

  • Add the chicken broth, cream, grits, salt, and pepper to a dutch oven or large pot, and stir to combine. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low.
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes or to the time frame on the back of your grits packaging, frequently whisking until most of the liquid is absorbed.
    A dutch oven with chicken broth, cream, grits, salt, and pepper.
  • Take off the heat and add the cheese and butter; stir until melted. Keep warm while you prepare the shrimp.
    Cheese and butter in a liquid mixture in a dutch oven.
  • While the grits are simmering, add the chopped bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Take the bacon out of the skillet and reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the green onions, butter, seasoned salt, and pepper, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    Bacon grease with green onions, butter, seasoned salt, and pepper.
  • Add the shrimp and stir to combine, cook until they turn pink, about 3-5 minutes.
    Shrimp in a butter sauce.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir everything to combine.
    Lemon juice being poured into a pan of cooked shrimp.
  • Add grits to a serving bowl, and top with the shrimp. Add the crispy bacon on top and more green onions, if desired.
    Looking down on a serving bowl of shrimp and grits with garnishes.

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • If you find your grits have gotten too thick, just put a splash of chicken broth in and stir. 
  • Low sodium options can be used where possible.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, freeze for up to 3 months.
  • This does make a lot of grits. You may have some leftovers. They will thicken as they cool, to reheat, add a splash more of chicken broth to loosen it up.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 945kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 83g | Sodium: 1977mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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